Art, Books, Learning, Life, Reviews

Book Review: Dictionary for a Better World

Can words make everything better? Can they make the world a better place? I believe so. I do believe in the phrase ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ This book provides just that – a whole dictionary for a better world.

In a way, one of my Random Acts of Kindness is to introduce this book to you!

It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it. – Nelson Mandela (this quote is at the beginning of the book)

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The Book

Dictionary for a Better World

Title: Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z
Author: Irene Latham, Charles Waters
Illustrator: Mehrdokht Amini
Publishers: Lerner Publishing Group
Pub Date: 4 Feb, 2020
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction , Poetry
Source: NetGalley eARC

Goodreads ||  Book Depository  BookShop || IndieBound

Many of you know I enjoy poetry – reading it and trying my hand at writing it too every once in a while. And I love books that teach without preaching. This book therefore was one I had to check out for myself and I am glad I did. This is a must-add for my library and I plan to get the print edition soon for myself (the review is based on the NetGalley eARC I received)

My Thoughts

This is not per-se a picture book but the brilliant artwork that accompanies the poems across its 120+ pages almost make it so, a picture book that teaches and allows the readers to explore so many different things.

Each poem is by one of the two authors of this book and highlights one of 50+ words, some of which are acceptance, dream, hate(too), intention, laughter, netiquette(much needed today), pause, tenacity, xenial and zest. Each of these beautiful entries also includes:

  • Mehrdokht Amini’s brilliant and bright artwork
  • a short definition of the poetic form used in the poem (and I love that each poem uses a different poetic form
  • an inspiring quote related to the poem’s theme/word
  • a personal anecdote or reflection from one of the poets that adds to the poem and its message
  • and a ‘try-it’ exercise. This gives ways for the reader to easily work towards, well, making the world a better place, one step at a time!

I truly enjoyed each entry – for its message, its use of the poetic form, and for the opportunity provided to explore, enhance, and expand upon each poem. This can be used in so many ways, to

  • explore and learn the different poetic forms, and to try writing based on the form
  • learn about the personalities whose quotes are included with each poem (some are well-known, and others not so much)
  • understand and use the visual brilliance of the artwork by Amini, and be inspired by that to try to create
  • figure out how to use the try-it exercises individually, or with others, and make the world a better place

The book also includes a very useful index with a list of books, resources, the poetic forms used, and more.


A treasure of a book that you should get for your library or for a classroom near you. It touches upon important social topics effortlessly and ‘clichelessly.’ Definitely serves an important purpose in today’s world while introducing readers to so much more – poetry, poetic forms, art, and inspirational people.

While this is geared towards younger readers (upper elementary and middle graders), I believe this book is for everyone.

Additional Resources

Check out this excellent activity guide at once you have the book.

Get It Here

  Book Depository ||  BookShop || IndieBound

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the digital review copy of the featured books. These thoughts are my honest opinions of the books.

And Now, the End of this Post

Dear reader, do let me know of any books that has inspired you recently? And do let me know if you enjoy this book once you read it (hoping I inspired you to do so with this post!:))?

Linking this to Its Monday What Are You Reading.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Dictionary for a Better World

  1. Dictionary for a Better World sounds fascinating — very artistic for a dictionary. I’m going to have to go read up on this one because this is the first time I’ve heard about it. Thanks for sharing, Vidya!

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